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The majority of fitness experts suggest eating carbohydrates right after a workout to replenish depleted muscle glycogen stores. Arnold Schwarzenegger even went as far as saying the window of opportunity for utilizing carbohydrates is even tighter for carbs than protein in his Modern Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding.

Why must one rush to restore muscle glycogen? You're not going to be doing any strenuous activity after working out that requires maxed out glycogen stores. Usually, your next workout is at least 24 hours away, giving you a chance to eat multiple carb heavy meals before then.

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    I don't think we need to, maybe they are training 2 times a day? – Aizul Jun 14 '15 at 7:06
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    Carbs can help with protein synthesis for muscle hypertrophy and strength: "A combination of a fast-acting carbohydrate source such as maltodextrin or glucose should be consumed with the protein source, as leucine cannot modulate protein synthesis as effectively without the presence of insulin [27,28] and studies using protein sources with a carbohydrate source tended to increase LBM more than did a protein source alone " (LBM - lean body mass). – BackInShapeBuddy Jun 14 '15 at 7:34
  • @BackInShapeBuddy That's a good point, but I was wondering why all these online articles and Youtube gurus talk about replenishing muscle glycogen (as if it were your car's gas tank) without any mention of protein synthesis. – JoJo Jun 14 '15 at 17:44
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If you will not be exercising again for 24 hrs., the rapid ingestion of carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen storage is not quite as important as it would be if you were to exercise again within a shorter window of time.

According to "The Role of Post-Exercise Nutrient Administration on Muscle Protein Synthesis and Glycogen Synthesis" in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine:

...athletes should intake nutrients immediately or soon after the completion of a prolonged or high intensity exercise bout, especially if quick replenishment of glycogen stores is required. If fast glycogen recovery is unnecessary and the goal is long-term maintenance of carbohydrate stores, a daily carbohydrate intake greater than 8 g·kg-1·day-1 is recommended to effectively maintain glycogen stores during repeated days of endurance training

However, in addition to muscle glycogen replenishment, there is also protein synthesis to consider.

Protein Synthesis

  • Carbs can help with protein synthesis for muscle hypertrophy and strength:

    "A combination of a fast-acting carbohydrate source such as maltodextrin or glucose should be consumed with the protein source, as leucine cannot modulate protein synthesis as effectively without the presence of insulin [27,28] and studies using protein sources with a carbohydrate source tended to increase LBM more than did a protein source alone " (LBM - lean body mass).

  • In the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine article:

    The overall effect of the glucose supplement caused a suppressed protein degradation rate

    100 g of carbohydrates improves overall protein balance when ingested one hour following a resistance exercise bout

Muscle Glycogen Replenishment

  • Regarding your question addressing only the muscle glycogen replenishment, there is rapid phase of glycogen synthesis following exercise that lasts approximately 30-60 minutes. The slow phase can last up to several hours, assuming carbs are in supply.

  • Keto-Adapted State - Replacing carbs after exercise however, is not recommended for those athletes following low carb or ketogenic diets and who are in a keto-adapted state. According to "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance":

    "Whereas consuming fast-digesting carbohydrates after exercise is commonly recommended, this practice is counter-productive in the keto-adapted state."

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  • @Jojo, I just edited my answer to address the keto-adapted athlete, for whom consuming post exercise fast-digesting carbs is not recommended. – BackInShapeBuddy Jul 5 '15 at 18:08

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